Legislature(1997 - 1998)
05/08/1998 01:35 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE May 8, 1998 1:35 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Jerry Mackie, Chairman Senator Gary Wilken , Vice Chairman Senator Dave Donley Senator Randy Phillips Senator Lyman Hoffman MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 230(FIN) "An Act amending the definition of 'small community' for purposes of housing programs involving the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation." CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 56(RLS) Relating to yttrium mining and transfer of the linear induction motor research vehicle to Alaska. PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 230 - No previous action to record. HJR 56 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER Tom Wright, Staff to Representative Ivan Ivan State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 230 Doug Salik, Intern in Representative Bill Hudson's Office State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented overview on HJR 56 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-9, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN MACKIE called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee meeting to order at 1:35 p.m., and noted the presence of Senators Wilken, Donley, Philips, Hoffman and Mackie. CSHB 230(FIN) - AHFC HOUSING FUNDS & PROGRAMS CHAIRMAN MACKIE brought CSHB 230(FIN) before the committee as the first order of business. TOM WRIGHT, staff to Representative Ivan Ivan who is the prime sponsor of HB 230, said the bill is very simple; it changes the population caps in Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's (AHFC) rural home loan program. For those communities that are connected by road or rail to Anchorage or Fairbanks it changes the cap from 1,400 to 1,600, and it changes the cap for those communities not connected by road or rail to Anchorage or Fairbanks from 5,500 to 6,500. He said Haines has exceeded the 1,400 cap and Bethel is rapidly approaching the 5,500 cap. Number 025 SENATOR DONLEY asked what the difference was between the rural home program and the AHFC's regular home loan program. TOM WRIGHT replied that the rural loan program relates to the rural areas where there is not necessarily title to land or conveyance of land; peculiarities out in the rural areas that are not found in the urban areas. He also thinks the interest is one percent less than the normal home loan program. However, he pointed out that there is no veterans' home loan program or first-time home buyers program in the rural home loan program as found in the urban loan program. SENATOR DONLEY expressed his concern that this program gives a special subsidy just because people live in a small community versus living in a big community. Number 083 CHAIRMAN MACKIE commented that the bill is only making a minor change to the program which is changing the caps. Number 087 SENATOR WILKEN moved that CSHB 230(FIN) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. CSHJR 56(RLS) - YTTRIUM MINING CHAIRMAN MACKIE brought CSHJR 56(RLS) before the committee as the next order of business. DOUG SALIK, an intern in Representative Bill Hudson's office, explained the resolution urges the Federal Railroad Administration to transfer the Linear Induction Motor Research Vehicle (LIMRV) to the state of Alaska. This transfer will allow for some potential development of new industrial and research business in Alaska. The development of yttrium, a rare earth element, could revitalize the Ketchikan and southeast area of Alaska, including Prince of Wales Island where yttrium is mined. In closing, Mr. Salik said the Power Superconductor Applications Corporation would use local employment in converting the LIMRV, and no state funding is requested at this time. Number 170 SENATOR WILKEN asked if yttrium is found in other areas of the state. MR. SALIK thought it had been found in other areas of the state but not in such mass quantities as on Prince of Wales Island. Number 185 CHAIRMAN MACKIE directed attention to a proposed SCS CSHJR 56(STA). As the resolution was originally introduced it spoke to doing production facilities in Ketchikan, Metlakatla and other places other than Prince of Wales Island so the committee substitute adds "Prince of Wales Island or elsewhere" in the appropriate places. Number 200 SENATOR PHILLIPS moved adoption of SCS CSHJR 56(STA) as a working document, and hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 221 SENATOR WILKEN expressed concern that the resolution directs the activity to Southeast Alaska, and he suggested it should refer to just Alaska as it does in the title of the legislation, and then let someone else decide the best place in Alaska for the activity. Number 247 SENATOR WILKEN moved that any geographical references to Southeast Alaska be deleted from SCS CSHJR 56(STA) and have it refer to Alaska in general. CHAIRMAN MACKIE objected to the amendment, and stated that it was just a resolution and he preferred to leave it as is. SENATOR WILKEN stated he doesn't mind mining yttrium wherever it is, but he finds it objectionable to state as a state policy that if somebody does read this resolution, we've directed them to do something with the LIMRV in Southeast Alaska. Number 285 MR. SALIK related that it was his understanding that the Power Superconductor Corporation wanted to keep it in the Southeast area to do some tests in the Annette Field area, as well as taking the LIMRV to Skagway for tests on the rail system to the railbelt in Anchorage. Number 320 SENATOR WILKEN suggested leaving in Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska wherever it has to do with mining, but to delete the reference wherever it has to do with LIMRVs. He then moved the following amendment to SCS CSHJR 56(CRA) Amendment No. 1 Page 1, line 15: Delete "Prince of Wales Island or elsewhere in Southeast Alaska" Page 2, line 8: Delete "Southeast" Page 2, line 17: After the word "facility" delete "on Prince of Wales Island or elsewhere" and after the word "in" delete "Southeast" Page 2, line 21: Delete "on Prince of Wales Island or elsewhere in Southeast" Page 2, line 28: Delete "Southeast" CHAIRMAN MACKIE stated his strong objection to the amendment and requested a roll call vote on the adoption of the amendment. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Donley and Wilken voted "Yea" and Senators Hoffman, Phillips and Mackie voted "Nay." CHAIRMAN MACKIE stated the motion failed. CHAIRMAN MACKIE suggested just deleting the word "Southeast" throughout the resolution, with the intent of the committee that it states "in Alaska." Number 390 SENATOR PHILLIPS moved the following amendment to SCS CSHJR 56(CRA): Amendment No. 2 Delete the word "Southeast" wherever it appears in the resolution. Hearing no objection, CHAIRMAN MACKIE stated Amendment No. 2 was adopted. CHAIRMAN MACKIE requested a motion to move the resolution from committee. SENATOR DONLEY moved SCS CSHJR 56(CRA), as amended, pass out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:04 p.m.